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Home | Tag Archives: College of Business Administration

Tag Archives: College of Business Administration

UTEP, Prudential Financial Excited about New Finance Concentration

Math always had been the strongest subject for freshman Sofia Del Toro, but she was not sure how to capitalize on her interest at college. Her uncertainty dissipated after she learned about a new degree concentration at The University of Texas at El Paso.

Del Toro, an El Paso native, is among the 35 students who enrolled in the first cohort of the College of Business Administration’s risk management program under the umbrella of the Prudential Risk Management Academy in the Department of Economics and Finance.

UTEP officials say the new concentration was created with significant input from Prudential and other insurance industry leaders. It was designed to integrate finance and quantitative analysis coursework with professional skill development in a lab-based setting that employs “real world” business analytics software. It will focus on professional development activities, internship and job placement, and certification exam preparation. Graduates of the program will be well prepared for such high-demand jobs as actuaries, data analysts, portfolio risk managers and quantitative financial research analysts.

Del Toro said this program, which has an extensive support system, will help her achieve her goal to become an actuary, someone who uses statistics to project the probability of future events for finance, insurance, engineering and environmental firms, to name a few.

“This is something I wanted to try,” the first-generation college student said. “I love the fact that we will have a contact person who can answer our questions. That level of support makes me comfortable.”

COBA Dean Robert Nachtmann, DBA, commended Prudential for its leadership and support of this concentration that will integrate strong analytical skills and business acumen. He said it will create limitless professional opportunities in all types of fields around the world that require risk management skills.

Nachtmann described risk management as an evaluation of the economic impact of uncertainty in our lives in the areas of life, health, family and property.

“Anything we do in life basically has uncertain dimensions to it,” he said. “The analytical control of all of those risks is risk management.”

The new program, which has been in development for two years, launched Aug. 28, 2017. It marks the latest step in experiential learning that the college has embraced. The college’s other collaborations are with ADP, which started in fall 2016, and Lockheed Martin, which was announced in May 2017.

Prudential’s decision to collaborate with UTEP is part of a citywide strategy to create a skilled math and technology workforce in El Paso. Prudential recognizes UTEP’s strong academic programs, student demographic and the University’s important role in El Paso’s economic and workforce development.

“El Paso is a community with a strong spirit of collaboration and limitless opportunity,” said Lata Reddy, vice president of corporate social responsibility at Prudential Financial, and chair and president of The Prudential Foundation. “The Prudential Risk Management Academy will create new academic and employment pathways for UTEP students and help increase the level of diversity in the actuarial profession nationally.”

Prudential will support the academy with human and financial resources such as guest lecturers and professional learning opportunities to ensure the program’s success.

UTEP sophomore Edgardo Rey said he wanted to be an actuary, but did not want to leave his borderland home to go to college. He considered careers in science and marketing, but changed his mind after he learned about COBA’s new risk management program.

“When I found out about it, I had to apply,” said Rey, an El Paso native who grew up in Juárez. His initial goal is to help his family’s restaurant business in Juárez, but he eventually wants to start his own insurance company. “I thought it was a sign. I’m good at math and I’ve always been good at statistics.”

The initial interest in the program exceeded expectations despite a lack of time to advertise, said Erik Devos, Ph.D. associate dean for faculty development and professor of finance. He and Krista Snow, COBA’s director of corporate partnership programs, helped shepherd the program to fruition.

Devos said the students were drawn to the competitive curriculum, the industry involvement, and the knowledge that they are on a career path with a lot of upside.

“I am proud of everyone involved,” Devos said. “I’m very excited. This is the kind of program that enhances the relevancy of business education.”

Author: Daniel E. Perez – UTEP Communications

Area High Schoolers Profit from UTEP Entrepreneur Camp

Picture yourself walking from one end of The University of Texas at El Paso to the other in 100-degree heat. Now consider the same scenario, but this time you are sipping a reasonably priced, ice-cold agua fresca.

The 23 participants in the 3rd annual Rookie Entrepreneur Program at UTEP considered this idea among others as part of their business plan development. The program, organized by UTEP’s Center for Hispanic Entrepreneurship (CHE) in the College of Business Administration and the Mike Loya Center for Innovation and Commerce, is for select high school students who want to learn more about the different facets of business.

The program’s curriculum expanded this year to include more about finance, pitching, research, marketing, accounting, management and fund seeking. Participants came from Bowie, Chapin, Del Valle, Riverside, Coronado and San Elizario high schools. They formed three teams that had to develop a business plan, come up with profit margins and sales forecasts, and seek a business loan of up to $450. The program culminated with the teams’ businesses being open for several hours on Friday, July 22, 2016, under the Engineering Breezeway.

The aguas frescas idea was among those floated by a team that included Emily Vasquez and Ruth Yoshida. Vasquez, a 2016 Bowie High School graduate, will be a pre-business student at UTEP in the fall. Yoshida will be a senior at Del Valle High School. This is the third camp for Vasquez and the second for Yoshida. The pair thought a stand selling the popular Mexican drink made of fresh fruits, sugar, water and a few other ingredients would do well.

“We have some ideas of what kinds of foods people might want,” said Vasquez, who along with Yoshida, spent part of a recent morning conducting market research on campus. “We want the customer validation to see if the product will sell.”

The experience is one of the things that make the program worthwhile, Yoshida said. She said she returned for a second year because she gets a lot from what is taught and expected to learn more this year with the program’s more in-depth curriculum and networking opportunities.

Robert Nachtmann, DBA, dean of the College of Business Administration, praised the Rookie Entrepreneur Program (REP) and its leadership for organizing and growing the program that promotes the various skills needed to start a business.

“I think it’s great,” he said. “The students really love it.”

Denisse Olivas, CHE director, and Aaron R. Cervantes, director of operations of the Mike Loya Center for Innovation and Commerce, head up the program, which includes three UTEP student mentors.

Olivas and Cervantes said Nachtmann suggested the longer, more intensive curriculum, and their high school counterparts agreed with the changes. Participants are selected by their high schools based in part on interest, leadership and academic performance. All have risen to the challenge, the directors said.

“They like that the curriculum is more intricate,” Olivas said. “The courses are more sophisticated and that is adding to their practical knowledge and helping them develop an expertise. They see the value in this and so do their teachers.”

Cervantes said the students are taught lean startup principles so they can move decisively among numerous business ideas. They do their research and see which ones may be successful and develop them.

For example, Vasquez and Yoshida, the two student entrepreneurs, changed their minds after doing their research and found there was more interest and possible profit in selling snacks and bottled water thanaguas frescas.

“We teach them to not waste time on ideas that won’t work,” said Cervantes, who she he was proud of the camp’s uniqueness. “They need to know how to pivot and put their energies toward products that people want.”

Learn more about the College of Business Administration at UTEP

Author: Daniel Perez – UTEP Communications

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